Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Raiders' Battery Mates Providing a Spark

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Raiders' Battery Mates Providing a Spark

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Kindland, County Line staff writer

Orange Park High School pitcher Ryan Rogge and catcher Kym Collins have been making Amy Walker's softball coaching debut a lot easier this season.

"They call their own game," Walker said after watching the two underclassmen work together in a no-hitter against Gainesville Buchholz. "There's a good understanding between them. Kym understands what she has to do."

As Walker and assistant coach Meredith Hudson have worked hard to build team chemistry on the young club, Rogge and Collins have been going about their business, analyzing game plan after game plan while discussing the batting habits of opposing players they have come to know through travel ball or previous games.

"We agree 99 per cent of the time," said Collins, a sophomore who started at third base for the Raiders last year. "I'll call the pitches, unless she knows a batter better than me."

Collins said she couldn't wait to catch full time for Rogge, whom she has known since Collins was a seventh-grader at Orange Park Junior High School.

"I like Ryan," Collins said. "She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. We're friends on and off the field."

The feeling is mutual.

"I knew she could catch," said Rogge, who sports a 0.45 ERA. "She can boss me around when I think I'm the big dog. We treat each other like sisters -- we even fight like sisters, but it's over as soon as we hit the field."

Their relationship is one reason Orange Park has won 15 of 22 games this season, and it's the main reason the Raiders claimed the District 1-6A title April 30 with a 2-1 win over top-seeded Mandarin, one day after Rogge tossed her no-hitter.

Rogge gave up nine hits against Mandarin -- an unusually high number for the 14-6 junior right-hander -- but Collins kept her friend calm when the Mustangs put runners in scoring position on several occasions. …

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